The Link Between Sales and Service: 5 Ways your Line Staff Impacts Sales
“We spend so much money and time on gimmicks and promotions when all we really needed to do is get our staff tour-ready,” said Patrick Duffy, Executive Director of Leisure Park.
When it comes to achieving 100% occupancy, are you forgetting one of your most important sales assets? Your workforce can become integral parts of your sales force, if you simply educate them on how to make red carpet first impressions.
In today’s competitive marketplace, senior living communities must differentiate themselves. While amenities are nice, it’s often the relationships that prospective residents build in your community that make all the difference.
Here are five ways your senior living staff can positively impact your occupancy.
Provide a Pro-active Warm Welcome
The operative word here is proactive. Most people who work in a senior living setting are friendly and caring. However, are they showing it to your guests? One marketing director complained, “As I’m walking down the hallway with a prospect, they avert their eyes or worse, they say hello to me but completely ignore the people I’m touring.”
Have you set the expectation that you want people to greet your guests? In many cases, staff members simply don’t want to intrude or don’t know their involvement is desired. Start by asking your team to be active participants in making your guests feel welcome.
Then give them a chance to practice in a safe training situation. Teach them the 10 Foot, 5 Foot Rule. At 10 feet away make eye contact and smile. At 5 feet away provide a professional, friendly greeting. Remember that many people on your team may feel uncomfortable with eye contact, or shy about greeting guests. This is why skills practice is important!
Personalize their Welcome
Imagine how impressed your guests would be if the people they met greeted them by name at the front desk, at the dining room, and throughout the tour!
This can happen if they have the information. Create a one-sheet with information about known prospective guests: The names of everyone in the party, the expected time, and anything that might be of interest. (They’re a WWII Veteran, love gardening, or have a dog named Sparky.)
Share this info with department heads every day and enlist their help in sharing it with the line staff at stand-up meetings. You’ll be surprised at how excited many staff members will be to delight your guests with a little personalization.
Train your front desk team to ask the names of those who arrive for tours unexpectedly, and to use them throughout their visit. It’s important too that people know to greet the entire party, and not just one person.
The more your team members know about your services, their department, etc., the better impression they can make on guests and the more helpful they’ll be to residents, family members and other customers.
Consider teaching your team members how to give 30-second “commercials” about what they do. Better yet, offer some of the frequently asked questions about your community and their specific departments and arm them with accurate messaging so they can provide answers. The more you provide them with information, the more likely your team will come across as experts in their field, which will build trust with your prospects.
Deliver On Promises
Speaking of trust, one of the best ways to lose the trust of a new resident and their family members is to over-promise and under-deliver. Realize that the real sale is made AFTER the deposit check is received. You can lose residents and referrals if the experience they were promised is not the experience they have once they move in to your community.
It takes leadership on board to drive a service culture and, if you’re hiring compassionate people, your team can be trained how to show that compassion and deliver exceptional service.
Spread the Word
Every one of your staff members is out in the world telling the story of your community. The question is, what story are they sharing?
Focus on treating your team members well and they’ll speak positively about your company. One Marketing professional I know makes sure she thanks every staff person who assists her with a tour. She even has a “wheel” in her office they can spin for the occasional free gift of gratitude.
There is no better advertisement than an enthusiastic team of people who love working for your company and serving your residents!
Your associates may be the most under-utilized resources you have when it comes to making those red carpet first, second and third impressions. Get them tour-ready and engage them to turn prospects into residents, and residents (and their families) into raving fans!
Donna Cutting is the author of 2 books on customer service, including the most recent “501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers.” She is the CEO & Founder of RedCarpetLearning.com, leading a team of experts who help leaders in senior living (and other fields) engage their people to improve the resident and customer experience.